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Across the country, the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is helping states and counties respond to the opioid crisis by protecting babies, children, youth and families from harm and helping them get the support they need to heal and thrive. SSBG provides a flexible funding source to help states meet the unique and rapidly increasing needs of communities as they respond to the crisis.
In recognition of SSBG’s unique role as a flexible funding source for communities, NACo partnered with members of the SSBG Coalition to produce a new brief on how the block grant is helping protect children, facilitate access to treatment, support at-risk youth and care for older adults amid the nation’s ongoing drug crisis.
SSBG was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 (P.L. 97-35) and is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. SSBG, a flexible funding source that can be used for nearly 30 different types of services, allows states and local jurisdictions to tailor social service programming to their populations’ needs and helps fill the gaps between other human services programs.
Ten states pass SSBG funds directly to counties, including Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, though counties in other states can access SSBG funds as well. Because of SSBG, counties are able to provide essential services that help reduce dependency and promote self-sufficiency; protect children and adults from neglect, abuse and exploitation; and help individuals who are unable to take care of themselves.
Although SSBG helps our nation’s most vulnerable populations, Congress and the administration continue to target the block grant for further cuts. In 2016, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation to eliminate the block grant, and President Trump’s FY 2019 budget proposal, which was released in February 2018, also called for the elimination of SSBG. The program ultimately received $1.7 billion in the FY 2018 omnibus, which is level with FY 2017 funding.
Additional NACo resources on SSBG: